Friday, April 24, 2015

At an extraordinary European summit on migration in Brussels yesterday (24.4), EU leaders agreed on a series of measures aimed at addressing the growing flows of migrants to Europe, which have become an increasing challenge for Mediterranean countries, particularly Greece and Italy. The leaders agreed to step up efforts to clamp down on trafficking rings and to destroy vessels used to smuggle migrants to Europe, rather than confiscating them and allowing them to be auctioned off, as this often leads to the vessels ending up in the hands of criminals again.

A 10-point plan action plan drawn up by the European Commission foresees the strengthening of cooperation between the common border, law enforcement and justice agencies – Frontex, Europol and Eurojust.

"The tragedy in Lampedusa and the shocking reality we face every day in the Aegean underline the need for the EU to develop an effective, humane policy on immigration based on solidarity, particularly for the front line Mediterranean countries," said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ahead of the meeting.

In his remarks following the special meeting, EC President Donald Tusk said that saving the lives of innocent people is the first priority, but "that is not just about rescuing people at sea; it is also about stopping the smugglers and addressing irregular migration."

  • Tsipras Meets with Merkel on Sidelines
On the margins of the EU summit on migration yesterday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. "We pointed out the substantial progress recently achieved in the negotiations with the Brussels Group as well as the fact that a large part of the distance has been covered," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said referring to the Greek financial crisis and the bailout package. 

Speaking after a private meeting which she described as "constructive" with Tsipras, Merkel said that everything must be done to prevent Greece running out of money before a deal is reached with its international creditors.

See also: EC Europa Press Release (23.04); UNHCR Joint statement on Mediterranean crossings

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen is visiting Greece (23-24.4) as part of a roadshow to promote the Investment Plan for Europe, which will utilise public & private investments of about €315 billion over the next 3 years (2015-2017).

During a press conference yesterday (video), Katainen stressed that Greece could benefit from (European Fund for Strategic Investment) EFSI-SME financing. He also added that public & private Partnership projects could also apply some risk sharing financing.

He also dismissed concerns about Greece’s access to the new NSRF funds in order to finance, among other, projects of the Investment Plan for Europe, by saying that there was no fiscal conditionality for the financing of a project and that this depends solely on the merit of the proposed project.

Today, Katainen will be presenting the Investment Plan for Europe in a joint committee meeting in the Hellenic parliament and will be meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

On April 21, 1967, a group of right-wing army officers seized power in a coup d'etat establishing the Greek military junta of 1967-74.

Kostis Kornetis' book, Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the "long 1960s" in Greece traces the dissent and activism of anti-regime students that period, illustrating how they re-appropriated indigenous folk tradition for their progressive purposes and how their transnational exchange molded a particular local protest culture, culminating in the Athens’ polytechnic uprising in 1973. 

The book fills a gap in English-speaking literature on Greece in the 1960s and 1970s. It examines how the students’ social and political practices became a major source of pressure on the dictatorial regime and offers insightful ways of understanding Greek society and politics, as well as the governing party’s, Syriza, ideology and politics.

Kostis Kornetis is Assistant Professor at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University.

Sample Chapters: Introduction & Chapter 1: A Changing Society (PDF); Interview: Greek Society Today and Yesterday: Kostis Kornetis

Athens University of Economic and Business (AUEB) and the University of Kent, UK, offer a unique intensive MA in Heritage Management (HERMA), taught exclusively in English. They combine archaeology and business and are taught at Elefsina in Athens, an area of world-class archaeological significance.

HERMA focuses on teaching the skills required for the management of heritage sites across the world and on methods of effective collaboration with archaeologists, architects, conservators, stakeholders, marketing and education specialists, while fundraising and supervising specific projects.

Its courses have been designed by world class specialists, taking into account particular needs of archaeology, in subjects such as Human Resources Management, Tourism Marketing, Strategic Planning, and Finance for Cultural organizations.
No other MA in the English language teaches these key areas with specific reference to the special needs of archaeology: The application procedure is now open for the academic year 2015-16.

The Green Cola Company from the town of Orestiada in the region of Thrace is a relatively young company with a remarkable sales and exports record. For decades, the company worked as bottler for the Greek chapter of Coca cola, before being hit by the financial crisis in 2008. 

In 2011, it began producing its own labels, becoming successful under its green cola label. In less than four years, the company managed a twelve fold increase in earnings (€12 million) and raised its exports share to 25% of its overall production (Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus). The secret of Green Cola is nothing but sweet: “We replaced sugar with stevia and used natural aromas only, such as green coffee grains. We are not interested in making a Greek cola and we do not compete with Coca Cola, which is the undisputed leader in the market”, the company explains.